Tag Archives: driving

I really miss driving a car

Although driving a scooter really has many benefits, especially here in Bali and generally in SE Asia traffic, I still really miss driving a car. I know that some people just like the sensation of going on a drive, even if there’s no specific destination, and I’m one of them. You can put on some great music, relax and just enjoy the miles going by. Or sometimes you don’t want to relax, you want to grab the steering wheel a little bit tighter, turn on the sport mode (if there is one 🙂 ), feel the feedback from the wheels and the engine and  just go for it! Of course, everything in a sensible manner on public roads :). Honestly I didn’t think that I would be missing this of all the things in the world but that’s the case. I have been driving a car since I got 18 which is already 12 years by now and I guess it has really kind of grown on me. Of course I could just rent a car here for a couple of days but firstly in order do to it legally it would require an international driving license, which I don’t have. Secondly most of the time I’d just be stuck in a traffic jam and thirdly it’s not long before we will be heading back home and there we will soon purchase a new four-wheeled companion for us :).

In a car you have more room, you’re protected from the elements and it’s safer. Of course you can’t squeeze yourself through a 0.5m wide gap but most of the time that’s not the issue :). Meanwhile we try to stick to the traffic-free, beautiful views, off the grid roads since driving a scooter there is a true bliss 🙂

BMW ConnectedDrive, BMW Dynamic Light Spot, 05/2011

What to know when travelling around Bali + the second video

As I already mentioned in the last post renting a scooter is a must since the distances in here are noticeable. In order to get from one side of the island to the other it can take up to 4-5 hours without the crazy traffic that you’ll encounter around Kuta, Denpasar and other bigger areas. With a car it probably takes much longer because of the already mentioned traffic + in some places roads are really not roads and unless you’re in a 4×4 there’s just no way to pass. And be very careful in junctions since there are no rules. If a big enough mass gathers it’s your time to go. Be sure to look left, right, behind, ahead and down because there will be surprises coming from each direction :)! If to compare it with Phuket, the other place with notoriously horrible traffic, I think that this place is a bit worse, especially during rush hours. But you’ll get used to that :)!

Secondly be sure to carry cash everywhere you go. Since in almost every beach, temple and tourist object there is a small fee for parking your scooter + a fee per person to enter the area. Sometimes these two fees can be combined but you can be sure that someone will ask you a small amount of money :). Usually it’s about 2000-3000 for parking a scooter and entrance tickets can be from 2000 to 10000 with prices going up to 60000 in most popular tourist attractions. I get all that but what seems a bit weird is that even if you want to go to McDonalds or just a walk in the park for example, even there they’ll charge you for parking :). I don’t know from where this kind of tradition has come from but it’s just easier to get used to it!

Petrol/gasoline is really inexpensive (about ~0,53€ per liter) here. You can find it being sold almost everywhere in small home-made gas stations and in old liquor bottles on wooden shelves by the road. It comes in different colors 🙂 but as I’ve been told the only thing that they differ from is the price and an average scooter drinks almost about everything.

Since there are sadly a huge number of stray dogs roaming on the streets you have to be really careful about them also. In addition quite often you can meet just standing in the middle of the street: cats, chickens, rats, lizards, cows, geese, turkeys and a huge variety of other unknown animals :).

I hope you found some value in these tips! Meanwhile here’s the second video of Bali. Go and have a look!

Phuket Grand Tour and Beach Guide

Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island. It covers approximately 543 square kilometers, houses about 600,000 inhabitants plus a a horde of tourists and has definitely a lot to offer from picturesque beaches, beautiful mountains and green lush jungle. You can read more about it from here. And so yesterday we decided to go and make a full circle round the island. It took around 6 hours (with all the stops included), 120km’s (which doesn’t seem like much of a distance but believe me on our small scooter it’s quite a ride!) and 2 fuel stops. We started from where we live, at the southern part in Rawai, drove all the way to the airport through the west coast and then back again from the east coast. We missed the most northern tip of the island but maybe we will go there some other time in the future 🙂

Phuket_Towns_map

Either way – the southern part and most of the west coast is lined with beautiful beaches with mountains and cliffs dividing them. Of course in most of the places they are supported with smaller and bigger towns, hotels, resorts and villages. I have already in the previous posts written about Yanui, Nai Harn and Ao Sane beaches. Also more touristy Kata and Karon have been mentioned along with crazy Patong area. But if to drive north from there there are still tens of bigger and smaller beaches to be discovered. And the more further you go from Patong the more relaxing and chill the scenery goes. The nearest ones to that direction are Kamala and Surin beaches, latter of which we really liked. There’s a beautiful area of palm trees near the sand where you can just lay back in the tree shadows and enjoy the view without being disturbed by much of a crowd. There are also few dining places and an opportunity to rent lazy tubes or kayaks.

But a bit further north from there you can find the Bang Thao beach, also called a Dream Beach. And it really lives up to the name. I have never seen so long beach in my life (more than eight kilometers long; only Mai Khao beach which is located in the northern part of Phuket near Sarasin bridge is even longer). There were very few people strolling along the beach and beautiful sand as far as the eye can see. On the way there we drove through a high-end residential area filled with gorgeous huge villas and other beautiful houses. It seems that people living there go to this beach when they’re in a mood to dive somewhere else than they’re home swimming pool :). In addition there was a lot of luxurious hotels and resorts on the way.  If you like to stay in a more secluded relaxing area then this is a place to be and also one of the most-visits when you’re on Phuket:)!

Next is the Banana beach. Which makes this one special is that in order to get there you have to park your scooter or car at the side of the road and then walk/climb down from a rather steep hill. And when you get down there it’s just the beach. No touristy establishments, just you, the sand, the sea (and of course the other people who have decided to make the climb). So it’s once again rather secluded area where do have a swim and just relax.

And the last ones on our journey were Naithon and Naiyang which resemble Kamala and Surin beaches but even more quiet. So there’s plenty to choose from :)!

All in all the west coast is the area to visit. Most beautiful places and beaches as described are all on that side of the island. And it’s really fun drive also – constantly up&down, left&right. Be sure to have some resting stops for both yourself and the scooter (if you decide to go with one).

Driving back from the other side of the island there are a lot of tree plantations, fields, small towns and highways. Basically there are mostly local people living in that part of the island and not many tourists seen around. Also there isn’t actually an opportunity to drive on the coast so you don’t get a glimpse of the sea which is unfortunate. We tried to visit Bang Pae waterfall but as it turns out it’s a part of a national park and there’s a 200baht entrance fee per person. Since by that point we already had quite a long drive behind us so we decided not to visit and really if you want to see some magnificent waterfalls – go to Chiang Mai :)!

I hope you found some value from this post! Phuket awaits you :)!

All the Best!

Lauri